Johannesburg – Bongani Bingwa is best known for his work as a presenter and journalist for the longestrunning local investigative TV programme, Carte Blanche.
The award-winning journalist has been a TV presenter and voice-over artist for the past 16 years, beginning in his teens on children’s TV.
His experience spans a variety of shows, both serious and frivolous entertainment. His background as a journalist includes a stint on Talk Radio 702 where he began as a news anchor and progressed to hosting his own show, Talk at Nine. This week, Bingwa returned to 702 as part of its brand refresh.
He has acted in many TV series, among them Generations, Sesame Street, Investigate Your Universe, Isidingo, Jozi Streets and Zero Tolerance.
You have been chosen to take part in a celebrity 12-round boxing match. You can take on either Devi Sankaree Govender or Derek Watts. Who do you choose and why?
Definitely Derek Watts; Devi would not be a fair fight – have you ever met the woman? People run from her at family functions!
What was your scariest moment as a journalist?
When Radovan Krejcir threatened to cut me to pieces and throw my body parts into acid drums if he didn’t like the interview we had done. Then said he was joking. Only to end the day by reminding me about the shark tank he had back home in his house in the Czech Republic.
You are stuck in an elevator with Julius Malema. What’s the first thing you ask him?
How he lost all the weight, because I’m battling with mine.
What is the biggest misconception people have of Bongani Bingwa?
There are many: I love foreigners more than South Africans. I don’t like white people. I don’t like black people. I’m racist and a coconut. I like being recognisable. I’m a party animal who could not sit by the fireside listening to the village elders.
Who was better: Tupac or Notorious BIG?
Tupac had a greater impact as a poet and prophet. He transcended his art form. Biggie was incomparable as an MC.
You are on death row. You are granted one last meal and dessert of your choice. What do you choose to eat?
Anything my daughter could make.
What is the best story you covered as a journalist?
That is an impossible question. Perhaps this: every story in which I was able to give someone whose story would otherwise not have been heard, a voice.
A restaurant is coming up with the Bongani Kota. What goes into it?
Can we use flaxseed wheat? Make it vegan with carrot corn dogs, black oyster mushrooms, vegan cheese and eggplant. Throw in avocados and caramelised onions and seitan balls. Yum, right? Sound pretentious enough? The kota cannot be deconstructed – it’s either an artery clogger or it is no kota! Has to have a Russian, polony, cheese and slap chips!
Your celebrity crush growing up?
Terence Trent D’Arby and Milli Vanilli.
Which book has had the biggest impact on your life and why?
Jeepers! Only one? Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. It explains the history of human development in a way nobody else has. Its lasting impact is dispelling the myth that some nations are more advanced than others because they had bigger or better weapons. History is largely a matter of geography and misfortune.